Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 21

The brave soldiers in Israel’s army

2 Samuel 21:18-22

David was only a youth when Goliath stood up to oppose Israel, as the champion of Philistia’s army. For 40 days, he laughed at Israel’s soldiers and insulted them. None of them was bold enough to fight against him, until David came.

David did not depend on his own strength to fight Goliath. Rather, he trusted God to deal with his proud enemy. The account of their fight is in 1 Samuel chapter 17.

Many years had passed. Much in Israel had changed during David’s rule as king. David himself had become weaker, both in physical strength (21:15) and, it seems, in his trust in God. However, Israel had become a strong nation, with many brave soldiers who were not afraid to oppose even the fiercest enemies (23:8-39).

In time, Philistia too became stronger. It again had its champions, giant and powerful men like Goliath, who led its men in battle. As a young man, David only had one such enemy to fight – but in these later battles, there were four of them (21:15-22).

The men who fought against and defeated these giant men became famous in Israel. Two of those brave men, Abishai and Jonathan, were relatives of David; and another of them, Elhanan, came from David’s own town, Bethlehem.

Jonathan, the son of Shimeah, seems to have fought his enemy in similar circumstances to how David fought Goliath. Jonathan’s enemy, too, laughed at Israel’s men before Jonathan bravely fought him alone. Jonathan was the brother of Jonadab, the man who gave such dangerous and foolish advice to Amnon (13:3-5).

Next part: David's strength and his weakness (2 Samuel 22:1)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.


© 2023, Keith Simons.